Sunday, September 22, 2019

Here's Why You Should Never Change Your Domain Name, From Personal Experience: A Rant

Well, after three months of nosediving traffic (and therefore earnings), yet the most work I've ever put into the site, I finally confirmed why my little blog's health is somehow in steady decline: my change, on a whim, from budgetfoodreview.com to thebudgetreviews.com.

That might be common sense to some, especially those familiar with SEO and rankings and the like, but as a casual blogger, I figured the move would just be more or less lateral. After all, I already defy the common sense advice of every marketing person out there, by never promoting this blog, instead allowing Google and other search engines to naturally lead interested parties to me. After all, that's mainly what inspired me to start this site: constantly searching for reviews of Aldi (and other store brand) products, and finding little to nothing for many of them. 

At the same time, I thought (and still do) that the change in title was necessary. Sure, it's always had reviews of non-food products (like Special Buys from Aldi) even under the Budget Food Review moniker, but the focus was mostly on food and budget items. Now, with reviews of apps, services, and other things that (occasionally) break away from the whole original idea of reviewing physical items from grocery stores, I thought it needed a broader name that tried to encompass all of that.

Since I was relying on organic traffic, and had decent search rankings up through July (even during long periods of blog neglect), I figured all of that stuff would just translate to the new blog. Nothing was changing except for the name, so it seemed like perfect common sense! Of course, "common sense" and "internet" are not two words that often go together, which is something I probably should have stopped to think about. My loss.

Moral of the story, my blog is more or less considered "new" within the Google ecosystem, with search results that were ranking at or near the top ten in the blog's previous iteration, dropping to the second or even third page, on average. That makes this site much harder to find, even when the content is more relevant to the needs of the user than some of the other results. And that's with absolutely no changes to the actual blog, outside of a simple name change! It's also where my complete reliance on organic traffic has failed me: with little-to-no outside links, and no prior push to create a small-but-loyal group of followers, pretty much all references to the old site - which would have redirected people to the new site - are gone, leaving no trace of the blog's golden era. Ouch. Now we see why all those marketing people have jobs after all, eh?

Honestly, the entire point of this post is merely to rant, and I'm sure I'll take it down at some point in the future. I'm also fairly certain (though not as much as I initially would have been) that, over time, all of the work I've put into it these past few months, will eventually reap some form of rewards, once my site re-establishes "tenure" and continues to grow in post count, search rankings (hopefully), and organic traffic (hopefully).

But it can also serve as a cautionary tale: If you are planning to make changes to your site's branding, please do some research first on how to lessen the impact. As someone who will obsessively research a $20 purchase to make sure I'm getting the best possible bargain, it's kind of ironic that the one time I didn't see a need to do so is probably the one time where I absolutely should have.

At any rate, there are still many more posts to come, and I will still retain my frequently-wavering attention to this site, which will probably come and go in spurts, as it always as. Aaaand, I think that's enough of that.

Sincerely,

Aaron


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